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One more go at ward system

Councillors Frank Wong, Buck Buchanan and Chris Stephan want to give Red Deerians the chance to decide if they want to stay with an at-large election system or go to ward voting.

On Monday, the three councillors will introduce a motion about switching to electoral wards from an at-large election. If endorsed by council, the proposal would to be put to a plebiscite on the Red Deer municipal ballot on Oct. 21.

Last April, council voted 6-3 in support of keeping the existing system rather than a ward system. Buchanan, Stephan and Wong were opposed.

“We seem to hear more and more about it,” said Buchanan.

“It’s like fluoride. I have my own opinions and I’ve talked to other people who have their own opinions. But that does not mean that should be what gets imposed on all of the electorate. And if this is in fact what people want, then maybe that should be the route we should definitely go.”

In a ward system, councillors would represent a specific area of Red Deer as opposed to the entire city.

City administration is recommending to council to affirm the existing voting system.

Also on the agenda on Monday:

l Lighting up at playgrounds, sports fields and parks may no longer be an option in Red Deer.

City council will go to first reading on a revamped smoke-free bylaw that includes a revised definition of smoking to include drugs like cannabis, hashish and herbal products and a ban on smoking within 10 metres of outdoor recreational areas

The bylaw is similar to one passed in Edmonton last week.

Provisions to allow aboriginal ceremonial activities will be included.

Last year, the city received requests from the community to expand the bylaw to further protect children.

Council would also launch a $10,000 public awareness campaign, including purchasing new signs.

The one-time funding would come from the tax stabilization reserve.

City administration is recommending first reading with the second and third readings to come before council on Feb. 3.



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